BELUSHYA GUBA /Novaya Zemlya archipelago/, August 17. /TASS/. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has arrived in Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, where he performed a divine service in one of Russia’s northernmost Orthodox churches - the Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker in Belushya Guba, an administrative center of Novaya Zemlya, a TASS correspondent reported.
This church in Russia’s Far North dates back to pre-revolutionary times, but this is the first visit by the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church there.
"The patriarch’s spiritual guidance is very important for us. He is visiting the most remote places of our Homeland, yet it is here that one can often find the heartland of Orthodox Christian life," head of the local diocese, Bishop Jacob of Naryan-Mar and Mezen, told TASS.
Novaya Zemlya had served as a nuclear test site since 1954, though tests have not been conducted there since 1990.
The Belushya Guba settlement where the church is located currently has a population of about 3,000 people. "These are military servicemen and their families as well as scientists and construction workers. Believers flock to our church, because people living in difficult conditions really need spiritual support and faith," the bishop stressed.